Whether you are someone who makes weekly visits to your local music store, a regular iTunes shopper or a torrent delinquent, there is one purchase I implore you to make this week. Not only is it for a great cause, but the music included is top-notch.

Released today, Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti is a compilation album filled with marquis names in family music. Featuring both previously unreleased tracks as well as new songs recorded especially for this effort, ‘Many Hands’ is also the debut release on Bill Childs’ Spare the Rock Records. As the title suggests, all proceeds from this album will go to Haitian People’s Support Project, a non-profit working to help the people of Haiti, still devastated since the January 12, 2010 earthquake.

Dean Jones of family music sensation Dog on Fleas was one of the spearheads behind this project, and his band can also be found on this compilation. Other artists on board include Dan Zanes, Elizabeth Mitchell, They Might be Giants, Gustafer Yellowgold, Caspar Babypants, Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem and Secret Agent 23 Skidoo. And that’s just a small sample!

Many Hands cover art

If you live in one of the areas below, be sure to check out one of these family music star-studded CD release events.

• Sunday August, 15: Dog on Fleas, Grenadilla, Uncle Rock, Rosendale Theater, Rosendale, NY (Details)
• Friday, August 20: Elizabeth Mitchell & Family and Frances England, Mill Valley Library, Mill Valley, CA (free) (Details)
• Saturday, August 21: Dog on Fleas, Lunch Money, Randy Kaplan, Deedle Deedle Dees, Armory, Somerville, MA (Details & ticket link)
• Saturday, September 11, 11:00: Randy Kaplan, Johnny Bregar, and Recess Monkey, Multnomah Arts Center, Portland, OR, presented by A Child’s Time to Rock! (Tickets)
• Saturday, September 11: Deedle Deedle Dees, Gustafer Yellowgold, Dog on Fleas, Knitting Factory, Brooklyn, NY
• Sunday, September 26: Dan Zanes, Elizabeth Mitchell & Family, Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, Deedle Deedle Dees, Tony Vacca, Grenadilla, Pines Theater, Look Park, Northampton, MA. (Tickets)

Buy the album now!

Halloween is my holiday. As a horror movie junkie and a lover of all things creepy, crawly and spooky, I absolutely delight in a day of the year where everyone of all ages accepts a little macabre into their manor.  Sure, it has to be down-aged for the little ones, but as soon as the decorations appear in stores, I am ready to celebrate.

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G-Rated Boos from Schnitzer

As my blog clearly demonstrates, I also enjoy celebrating quality and entertaining music with my daughter. So when All Hallows Eve comes around, it is an essential to find songs that match the season. As Maia is only three, I have to be somewhat selective in fright-themed tunes, but with wonderful sites like  Zooglobble.com, Kidsmusic.about.com, gooney bird kids, and Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child to guide me, we can get quite the playlist going. Here are a few songs to add to your mix this season.

Kindie Blood Curdles

“Howling at the Moon” by The Hipwaders -  This California kindie trio offers a fun werewolf tale that will inspire some backseat howling.

“Boo, Cackle, Trick or Treat” by Sue Schnitzer - A fun folk ditty from Sue’s full album of Halloween songs for kids.

“The Day After Halloween” by The Sippy Cups – We fell in love with this song last year, as well as its accompanying video. Another kindie superstar band, the song comes from their EP One Day Soon.

“The Edison Museum” by They Might Be Giants – This song is on their No! album. A spooky ditty  about a haunted mansion, this track will be creeping the kiddies out all year.

The Gabba gang plays dress up
Give them something good to eat

“A Monster Goes Rrraargh!” by ScribbleMonster & His Pals – This hard rocker from Chicago-area kindie quintet ScribbleMonster will have the little ones practicing their best monster growls well past the season of scares.

“Moogie Monster Man” by Kevin Kammeraad and Friends – Off Kevin’s 50+ track collection The Tomato Collection: The Big Album, this is less a Halloween song and more a celebration of make-pretend monsters.

“Monster Face” by Roger Day- Doing his best Pee-Wee Herman voice, Day demands all the kids make their best monster face and then dance, dance, freeze.

“Skeleton Song” by Mary Kaye – Maine-based Mary Kaye has created a delightfully quirky Halloween song with some fun xylophone instrumentation and mouth sound effects.

“Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet” by Monty Harper – Oklahoma-based children’s performer Harper tells a (kid-safe) creepy tale of a troll who exacts revenge on a house with no candy left.

Assorted Halloween Songs from Yo Gabba Gabba – In case you missed the  Halloween-themed episode, it features some great music, both from the regular cast of characters, as well as musical guests Shiny Toy Guns and I Monster. We love these songs so much, we had to find a way to extract and save the songs from the episode after we purchased it on iTunes.

Adult Supervision Recommended

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Zacherley cooks up Halloween fun in the lab

“Ghoul Bash” by Eban Schletter featuring Dave Gruber Allen – This composer/songwriter has brought a team of talent on board for his more adult-skewing album Witching Hour. Jill Sobule, Dave Foley, Paul F. Tompkins, Grant Lee Phillips and Tom Kenny (aka Spongebob Squarepants) all show up on various Halloween-themed tracks.

“Halloween Dance” by Reverend Horton Heat , “No Costume, No Candy” by The Swingin’ Neckbreakers – Both of these songs are from the Rob Zombie-produced compilation Halloween Hootenanny. While his adult efforts (both film and music) aren’t exactly family fare, these hard rocking songs are safe for your Halloween shuffle mix.

“Thriller” by Michael Jackson – ‘Tis the season to appreciate all things MJ.  Like most people in my age bracket, I was a bit traumatized by this video as a kid. Regardless, the song is relatively harmless, as long as the Vincent Price voice-over doesn’t unnerve any young ears.

Classic Cuts

“Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett and “The Purple People Eater” by Sheb Wooley - As a kid, these songs drove me crazy. Now, it is with tongue in cheek that I share them with my daughter..

“Which Witch is Which” from Walt Disney Record’s Halloween Songs & Sounds - Pulled f

Disney scares
Disney scares

rom a Disney novelty record, this track will entertain the Mickey lovers in the minivan.

“This is Halloween” by Danny Elfman (Nightmare Before Christmas OST) – While the accompanying images from the film may be a bit too intense for younger kids, the song itself has become a seasonal classic.

“Zombie Jamboree (Back To Back)” by Harry Belafonte – The “King of Calypso” sings about the undead in one of my favorite songs from these picks.  While you are at it, pick up the whole Belafonte collection for the rest of the year.

Halloween Detox (Or,  how to “unspook” your child through the power of music)

“Under My Bed” by Recess Monkey – Seattle kindie band (and teachers by day) turn the monster-under-bed story on its side with this not-so-scary story song.

“Soaper the Scaredy-Bot” by The Jimmies – Let Ashley Albert and co. remind your little ones not to be afraid of silly things with this irresistible kids’ tune that will distract them from that evil ghoul in the closet.

“Maybe the Monster” by Justin Roberts – This song, from the popular Chicago children’s singer-songwriter, is just one of the many songs out there to help kids remember that monsters are “make pretend.”

Happy Halloween!

“Coolest Little Monster ” by John Zacherley – Many of the (quite humorous) lyrics from the song will go over heads of little ones, but any song from this TV horror host personality is a must for the season.

We have two nightly, alternating bedtime traditions in our house.

1. Storytime

Life’s a party in The Jimmies’ videos. Life's a party in The Jimmies' videos.

2. “Watching Music”

While the first in pretty self-explanatory, the latter may need some clarification.

Maia is a music-junkie, and enjoys anything to which she can sing, dance or rock out. Once upon a time, after streaming an episode of Caillou, we showed her a music video on YouTube and a nightly tradition was born.

“Watching Music” now consists of firing up the laptop and watching kindie-centric music videos available online. Alternatively, we have also ripped some of Maia’s favorite music DVDs onto an iPod for her to enjoy on shuffle mode. We call it her own little MTV, minus the bad reality shows.

Believe it or not, there is an ample amount of resources online for finding kid-targeted music videos. Here are a few ways to get your own kiddie music video network going in your house.

Jitterbug.tv – This online destination strictly shows music videos for kids.  It is a great resource and one we have used often to find new artists and new videos.

GimmieJimmies.com (Video Page) - One can spend multiple nights just watching the videos on this site. The detail, artistry and sheer fun put into each video by this NYC-based band has to be seen to believe.  There should be a kids category at the VMAs based on their videos alone.

Zooglobble’s YouTube Channel - Stefan Shepherd’s Zooglobble website is well known by kindie music lovers worldwide. He has also set up a YouTube channel as well with links to hours of music videos and live performances of kids and family music.

“Jack’s Big Music Show” Music Videos – You are sure to chance upon one of the many  music videos from this show on JitterBug or Zooglobble. However, this is a one-stop source for the music videos pulled from this show.  (Maia’s favorite video, Lisa Loeb’s Jenny Jenkins, comes from this show.)

Xilisoft DVD Convertor Software – Taking some of Maia’s favorite music DVDs, we have used this software to rip individual files onto our iPod so we can also watch videos on the “big screen.”

Some of the ripped DVDs in our private iPod mix include:

PokeyPup – This is a great place to shop for music DVDs, as it concentrates on kids entertainment only.

Below are a few of our favorites videos for the sampling.

Lisa Loeb – Jenny Jenkins

Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang – Farm Animal Friends

Justin Roberts – Pop Fly

Renee & Jeremy – It’s a Big World

The Jimmies – Cool To Be Uncool